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Fixed, epitope-specific, cytophilic antibody response to the polymorphic block 2 domain of the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface antigen MSP-1 in humans living in a malaria-endemic area.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
European journal of immunology
Publication Date
Volume
31
Issue
2
Pages
539–550
Identifiers
PMID: 11180119
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The MSP-1 merozoite surface antigen of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a major target of immune response. The domain called block 2 shows extensive allelic diversity, with more than 50 alleles identified, grouped into three allelic families. Presence of anti-block 2 antibodies has been associated with reduced risk for clinical malaria, but whether or not allele-specific antibodies are implicated remains unclear. To study the fine specificity of the human antibody response, we have used a series of 82 overlapping, N-biotinylated, 15-mer peptides scanning reference alleles and including numerous sequence variants. Peptide antigenicity was validated using sera from mice immunized with recombinant proteins. A cross-sectional survey conducted in a Senegalese village with intense malaria transmission indicated an overall 56 % seroprevalence. The response was specific for individuals and unrelated to the HLA type. Each responder reacted to a few peptides, unrelated to the infecting parasite genotype(s). Seroprevalence of each individual peptide was low, with no identifiable immunodominant epitope. Anti-block 2 antibodies were mostly of the IgG3 isotype, consistent with an involvement in cytophilic antibody-mediated merozoite clearance. The number of responders increased with age, but there was no accumulation of novel specificities with age and hence with exposure to an increasingly large number of alleles. A 15-month longitudinal follow up outlined a remarkably fixed response, with identical reactivity profiles, independent of the past or current parasite types, a pattern reminiscent of clonal imprinting. The implications of the characteristics of the anti-block 2 antibody response in parasite clearance are discussed.

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